*Aliases* and Administrative Text

    It is important for us to make sure you understand how Pathagoras marks out what it calls ‘administrative text’ and address the confusion that ofter arises when administrative text concepts collide with *Aliases*.

    Administrative text is that part of an Options/Optional/AskOptions/AskOptional block that is either pure Pathagoras 'command' code or which is added as prompts and choices to provide guidance to the end user.

    All administrative text is removed when the block is processed. The ‘third’ asterisk in a typical command line (if a third asterisk exists) marks the end of the administrative text.

     An ‘alias’ call is a piece of text also surrounded by asterisks that similarly represents a list of choices.

      <<*AskOptions* . . . :        

      An <<*AskOptions . . . .>>  call is pure administrative text. None of it will remain in the completed document. It is all ‘command’ and ‘prompt’ text. Therefore, it ends with an asterisk.  So a proper <<*AskOptions*  . . . >> would look like this, with two asterisks at the end.

 

                              <<*AskOptions(radio)*!Signer!*LoanOfficer**>>

 

   To get a better 'visual' on this, imagine replacing *LoanOfficers* with Joe/Mike/Mary/Susan. You would have this:

                      <<*AskOptions(radio)*!Signer!Joe/Mike/Mary/Susan*>>

   Hopefully you see how the ‘3rd ‘ asterisk closes the administrative text. (It's sometimes easier to ‘pretend’ the stars in *alias* are not really there.)

 

    <<*Options* . . . :

            An <<*Options* block, on the other hand, is administrative text closed by an asterisk, followed by text, all or some of which text may remain in the document. Therefore, in your setup, the Administrative text is <<*Options*!Signer!*  and no more. The rest of the block is either going to be your list of names “Joe/Mike/Mary/Susan”, or the alias representing those names. Since here, we want to represent those names using an alias, this is the proper construct:

 

                        <<*Options(radio)*!Signer!**LoanOfficer*>>

 

    Again, imagine the replacing *LoanOfficers* with Joe/Mike/Mary/Susan. You would have this:

 

                      <<*Options(radio)*!Signer!*Joe/Mike/Mary/Susan>>

 

            It is confusing at first (and maybe at second, third and fourth), but there is a method to the madness. Once you can visualize the ‘stars’ of an alias as being integrally connected, and the asterisk that closes administrative text is an entirely different entity.

            I recognize that is would have been easier to not use asterisks in both routines. However, when programming a ‘plain text’ system such as Pathagoras, there are only so many keyboard characters at my disposal.

            So long story short. This is the code you want (colors only for emphasis; optional and never requiredJ)

<<*AskOptions(radio)*!Signer!**LoanOfficer*>>

. . . .

           Blah blah blah

<<*Options*!Signer!**LoanOfficer*>>

          blah blah blah